The U.S. government on Friday posted a smaller-than-expected $111.40 billion budget deficit for August, marking a record-matching 11 straight months of deficits.
The August budget gap was well below the forecasts of analysts polled by Reuters, who predicted a $152.0 billion deficit for the month.
The deficit was slightly smaller than the year-earlier budget gap of $111.91 billion, but this was due in part to calendar shifts that held down this year's August outlays. A Treasury official said some $25 billion in August 2009 federal benefit payments were shifted to July,
With one month to go in the 2009 fiscal year, which ends September 30, the deficit stood at a record $1.378 trillion, versus a same year-ago deficit of $500.53 billion.
The White House budget office on August 25 forecast a $1.58 trillion deficit for the full 2009 fiscal year, implying that September -- in normal times a surplus month -- would produce a deficit of more than $200 billion.
A September deficit would mark a record 12 consecutive months of deficits. Only three other times has the United States racked up 11 consecutive monthly deficits -- July 1982 to May 1983; May 1986 to March 1987; and May 1991 to March 1992.
The Treasury said receipts for August fell to $145.54 billion from $157.02 billion a year earlier, marking a 7.3 percent decline. For the first 11 months of the fiscal year, receipts are down 16.2 percent to $1.885 trillion from $2.251 trillion, as the economy struggled through the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression.
Outlays for August fell to $256.94 billion from $268.93 billion a year earlier. For the fiscal year to date, outlays, driven largely by spending on economic stimulus and financial rescue programs, are up 18.6 percent to $3.264 trillion.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish)